Learn how to color white chocolate or confectionery coating (candy melts) to use to make homemade chocolate lollipops. It’s so much fun and it’s easy enough that even kids can make their own candy lollipops.
This post was originally published in 2012 but has been updated with a NEW VIDEO TUTORIAL.
In this tutorial, I will show you how to paint colored white chocolate or confectionery coating into candy molds to create cute and colorful lollipops for any occasion.
This candy painting technique can also be used to create things like chocolate Easter bunnies and white chocolate lambs.
Before you start, you might want to check out my Chocolate Making Tips page. There you will find detailed information regarding the various types of chocolates and proper melting methods.
What type of chocolate can be colored & used in candy molds?
When creating hand-painted chocolates you can use pure white chocolate, if you are skilled at tempering.
Pure White Chocolate
- contains cocoa butter and must be tempered (see my Chocolate Making Tips page for details on tempering.)
- has an off white, yellowish, or cream-colored hue.
- must be colored with oil-based food coloring that is specifically made to color chocolate.
The challenge with using pure white chocolate is keeping small quantities in temper while you are painting your candy molds. If you are a home cook and are interested in making hand-painted chocolates, I suggest you use confectionery coatings instead.
Below I will show you an easy method to keep the candy coating melted all day long so you can make dozens of lollipops quickly and easily.
- typically contain palm kernel oil instead of cocoa butter making it easy to melt.
- are also known as Compound Coatings, Candy Melts, Melting Chocolate Wafers, Almond Bark, or Candy Coating
- are available in a traditional off white or bright white color.
- are also available in a rainbow of colors.
- must be colored using oil-based food coloring designed specifically for chocolate.
There are several manufacturers that make white, light cocoa, dark cocoa, and colored candy coatings. which can be purchased from craft stores, candy & cake making shops, or on-line.
These colored candy wafers are available on Amazon.com (I earn a small commission on any sales from using the links below at no additional cost to you.)
I often use Wilton Candy Melts because they are easy to find at JoAnn’s, Michaels, and even Walmart, and they come in a rainbow of colors. When using white confectionery coating, I prefer the flavor of Peter’s White Caps.
Before you can color your chocolate or candy coating you need to melt it. See the Chocolate Making Tips page for detailed instructions.
To color white chocolate or confectionery coatings use:
- oil-based candy coloring (specifically formulated for chocolate/candy)
- powdered candy coloring
Do not use liquid food coloring or icing coloring (water-based coloring).
Candy coloring can be found at craft and cake decorating stores or online.
You can find these brands of chocolate coloring on Amazon.com
I personally use Chefmaster Liquid Candy Coloring. The coloring is thin enough to squeeze out of the bottle in small droplets which is great when I’m coloring a small amount of candy.
How to color white chocolate or confectionery coating (candy melts)
- If you are using candy coloring in a squeeze bottle, squeeze in a small amount of coloring and stir well. Add more coloring if needed to achieve the desired shade.
- If using powdered color, sprinkle some over top and stir in. Add more as needed.
- If using candy coloring that comes in a jar, insert a toothpick into the coloring then insert that toothpick into your jar of white chocolate and stir.
- Then remove the toothpick and throw it away after it’s first use.
- If you put the candy-coated toothpick back into your jar of coloring you will contaminate the coloring.
- Off white candy wafers will add a touch of yellow to your colored candy, so be sure to use bright white candy coating bright white to make cool colors like blue and purple.
- It is very difficult to color white candy melts to get a deep red or dark green, so I suggest buying them instead.
- Confectionery coating that is colored using bright pink or even lilac will fade over time. Don’t ask me why this happens, but it does. I suggest purchasing colored pink candy wafers. They will hold their vibrant color and won’t fade nearly as much.
- Black candy melts are not truly black. Sometimes they look gray, other times they look more blue. I suggest buying some black candy coloring to add if you want deep dark black candy.
Tips and tricks when working with candy melts…
Aak! My candy melts are too thick! Now what?
- Add a small pinch of Paramount Crystals or Wilton Candy Melts EZ Thin to the thick candy coating, and stir until melted. The candy melts should become thinner with each addition. Add as much, a little at a time, as needed, until you get the desired consistency.
What are paramount crystals (Wilton Candy Melts EZ Thin)?
- Paramount Crystals are flakes of solid palm kernel oil which is the same fat used to make the candy melts.
- They will help to thin out thick candy melts but will allow your candy to harden properly.
Can I thin out thick candy melts using vegetable oil or shortening?
- In a pinch, you can use a small amount of vegetable oil to thin out your candy melts, but if you add too much, your candy will never harden properly. Vegetable oil is liquid at room temperature so an excess amount mixed into the candy will cause the candy to be soft.
- Shortening is a better option to thin out thick candy melts as it is solid at room temperature. Just note that it can affect the flavor of the confectionery coating if you have to add a lot in order to thin out the candy melts.
Why do my candy melts get thick?
- Candy melts can become thick if overheated. So, be careful not to overheat your chocolate.
- They can also become thick if exposed to condensation or water.
- Age and exposure to temperature changes can also make your melted confectionery coating thick.
What supplies will I need to make hand-painted candies and lollipops?
You can melt your candy in small bowls, using a microwave, but I highly recommend using an electric skillet. I’ll show you below how I use it to keep my candy coating melted all day.
- electric skillet*
- glass jars, coffee mugs, or drinking glasses
- paint brushes (use new or food-use-only brushes, I recommend plastic handle brushes)
- candy molds
*I love using an electric skillet filled with water to keep my jars of candy melted all day. You can also use a crockpot, but the skillet has more room and the lower walls make it easier to access the jars of candy coating.
You can find these supplies on Amazon.
Lollipops can be made for any occasion like Easter and Halloween.
Below I will show you how to paint an Easter Bunny using a candy mold from a company that has sadly gone out of business.
How to melt confectionery coating using an electric skillet…
- Fill an electric skillet with some hot water and set the temperature to “WARM” (or the lowest setting).
- Fill glass jars, coffee mugs, or ramekins with the confectionery coating wafers.
- Place the jars in the water-filled skillet.
- Make sure the water comes up about halfway on your shortest jar.
- As the wafers heat up, stir the candy wafers occasionally until they are completely melted.
- You can melt the candy coating in the microwave then set the jars in the skillet, if you’d like to speed things up.
You can keep your candy coating melted all day using this method, just stir the coating throughout the day to keep the coating near the top of the jar from hardening.
And be sure to replenish the water, with more hot water, as it evaporates.
Most importantly, be careful that you don’t spill water in the chocolate, or it will seize up and become too thick to use.
- If you pick up a jar to move it closer to you, put a towel under the jar as you move it, so drops of water don’t end up in other jars of coating.
- If you do drop some water in a jar, scoop out the water. Do not stir it in.
- Create all of the colors you want to use in your lollipops.
- For Easter, I like to use pastel colors for some of the pops and more vibrant colors for others.
- You can adjust colors while you are working by adding more coloring (for brighter colors)or by stirring in some white candy coating (for more pastel colors).
- If you are using colored candy melt wafers and you want to lighten the colors, just stir in some white.
- Get your candy molds and paintbrushes together and clean out your freezer, so you have some space to place the molds.
How to paint chocolate lollipops?
- Before you begin painting, decide what colors you want to use for the features and what color you want for the background.
- If you choose to make a white bunny, do not paint any of the features white, as they will just blend into the background color.
- You can paint all or just some of the features on your mold. Here I started by painting the mouth with bright pink coating.
- Dip a paintbrush into the coating and dab it into the indentation on the candy mold.
- Add more coating to your brush as needed to fill in the entire indented area.
- By dabbing the chocolate (see the pink spot at the top of the image) you will end up with a nice opaque area.
- If you brush the chocolate on (pink streaks on bottom of image), it will harden, streak, and leave you with a see-through area.
- Also, always dip your brush into melted chocolate and not along the sides of the jar, so that you get nicely melted chocolate.
- If you end up with hardened chocolate on your brush, just dip it in the melted chocolate and allow it to sit for a minute to melt away the hardened chocolate from the brush.
- Use a different paintbrush for each color then paint more details on the candy mold.
- I used a lighter pink for the bunny’s nose and brown for the eyes.
- In order to layer the colors, like I did in the bunny’s bow tie, first paint on the yellow polka dots, then put the mold into the freezer for 2-3 minutes to harden the yellow dots.
- Any time you want to create layers of color, start with the color that will be on top, in this case, the polka dots.
- Then remove the mold and allow it to warm up so that the frost goes away.
- If you start to paint while the mold is too cold, the candy will want to “fly” and stick to other parts of the mold.
- Then paint the background color directly over top of the other color.
- I painted purple over top of my yellow polka dots.
- Carefully turn the mold over and look to see if you have covered the entire area.
- I have a bit of purple yet to paint onto my bow tie (see the lower right side of the bow.) After fixing the bow tie, I painted the ears (not shown) then put the candy mold back in the freezer for a few minutes.
- If your painted areas start to dry, get the mold in the freezer right away.
- Darker colors, that air dry, can develop white spots or streaks.
- Before filling the mold, allow the mold to warm up to room temperature.
- Then spoon whatever colored coating you’ve decide to use for the background into the mold.
- I usually spoon some in, then tap the mold gently on the table, allowing the candy coating to spread and fill in areas like the ears.
- It’s best not to overfill the mold, so tap gently as you go. Once the mold is filled, you need to tap it on the table a few times to remove any air bubbles that may have formed.
Don’t fill in the indentation that is for the lollipop stick.
If you do overfill your mold, you can use your finger to wipe off the excess candy or wait until the candy is hardened and you will be able to shave it off with a knife.
- Add a lollipop stick by setting the stick in the indentation and gently pressing it into the candy.
- Use your finger to roll the stick around so it gets completely coated in the candy.
- Place the lollipop in the freezer for 5-8 minutes. If you are using pure chocolate you’ll want to chill your lollipops in the refrigerator.
- It may take a bit longer if you are opening and closing your freezer a lot during the process.
- As the candy coating cools and hardens it will shrink slightly and retract from the mold.
How long do chocolate lollipops take to set?
- It will depend on the size of your candy mold.
- If you are using confectionery coating (candy melts) you should freeze your lollipops for anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes.
- If you are using pure chocolate then you want to refrigerate your lollipops between 5 and 10 minutes.
How will I know when the chocolate has completely set?
- You can tell if the chocolate or candy melts have completely hardened by carefully holding the mold up over your head, keeping it flat, and checking to see that the candy is one even color.
- If you see dark spots, that means the candy is still wet in those areas. Freeze or refrigerate the candy for a few minutes longer.
- You can also check to see if the lollipops are ready by very gently tugging on the lollipop stick.
- If the chocolate moves, it should come out of the mold easily.
- If it sticks, it is not ready. Don’t tug too hard, or you may pull a lollipop out before it is completely hardened.
My lollipops feel sticky! What happened?
- If you leave your candy in the freezer for too long, beads of condensation will form on the outside, making your lollipops sticky.
- Allow the candy to air dry overnight before packaging it.
How to Remove Lollipops from Candy Mold?
- gently tug on the stick and pull the candy out of the mold or
- place your hand over the candy, turn the mold upside down and allow the candy to fall out of the mold into your hand or
- place a baking sheet over the candy, turn the mold over and the baking sheet upside down allowing the candy to fall out onto the baking sheet.
- If you have overfilled the candy mold and the lollipop has excess candy around the edges, allow the candy to warm up to room temperature. Then use a small knife to carefully cut off the excess candy.
- If you have a lot of excess chocolate and it is very thick, you may want to heat up your knife by running it under really hot water (then drying it) or by holding the knife blade over a flame. Then as you cut off the excess, the knife will melt the chocolate as you go, making it easier to remove.
- Brush off any crumbs using a pastry brush.
How Long Will chocolate lollipops stay fresh?
- If you have used pure chocolate your lollipops will have a shelf life of at least 6 months, if not longer. The freshness will completely depend on the freshness of the chocolate you used to make your lollipops.
- If you used confectionery coating, the lollipops will stay fresh for up to a few months, but they will begin to lose some of their flavor after about a month. I can’t tell you why this happens, but the sweet vanilla flavor of candy melts (or any confectionery coating) will dull after time.
How to store chocolate lollipops?
- Wrap your lollipops in clear cellophane bags and tie them with a ribbon or twist tie to keep them fresh and looking pretty.
- Store the lollipops in an airtight container, at room temperature, away from any strong-smelling products to really enhance their shelf life.
Should I refrigerate or freeze my chocolate lollipops?
- No, it is best to store chocolate or confectionery coating (candy melts) in the refrigerator or freezer. Just keep the chocolates out of direct sunlight at room temperature.
- It’s actually not good to store chocolate in really cold temperatures.
- If you store your candy melts the chill box, condensation will form on the surface, causing your lollipops to get sticky. The beads of sweat may eventually dry but you will have tiny droplets that have dried on your chocolates ruining the nice shiny look to your candies.
- Drastic changes in temperature are even worse with pure chocolate. It causes the cocoa butter to bloom leaving your chocolates with a cloudy, spotty, or streaky appearance.
Hand Painted Candy Lollipops Video Tutorial
Making homemade chocolate lollipops is so much fun!
- Store your lollipops in a cool place preferably in an airtight container.
- You can package them in clear cellophane bags and tie them with a colorful bow.
- If you color pure white chocolate you must keep it tempered in order to paint it into the candy molds, so the electric skillet method won’t work well.
- If you do decide to use pure white chocolate, there is another alternative to coloring the actual white chocolate. Instead, you can paint your molds with melted and colored cocoa butter. You can keep the cocoa butter melted in the electric skillet, but you don’t want it to get hotter than 91 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use the colored cocoa butter to paint the molds. It will dry quickly then you can pour melted and tempered pure chocolate over top. Let that harden, then pop it out of the mold.
You can also use this same chocolate painting technique to make other items like chocolate Easter bunnies, adorable lambs, cute carrots, sweet chicks and more.
If you want to use pure milk or dark chocolate to make your solid chocolate Easter bunnies you can use colored confectionery coating to make your decorations.
Just note that on occasion the confectionery coating and the chocolate won’t stick together and the decorations will fall off. I make all my hand-painted chocolate bunnies using this method and I tend to lose noses more than anything else. I just use a dab of chocolate to “glue” the nose back on.
I also will use edible luster dust to add color to my chocolates. You can see the ears on the bunnies at the bottom of the image above are slightly shimmery. They are decorated with luster dust.
There are so many fun projects you can make using colored white chocolate or colored candy melts in addition to painted lollipops. Check out the step-by-step tutorials to make all of these…
Chocolate Caramel Fudge Chicks • Grinch Candy Cups • Sunshine Cookie Pops
Santa Suit Candy Cups • Mickey Mouse Safari Pops • Inside Out Caramel Apples
Candy Corn Cones • Candy Leprechaun Hats • Hollow White Chocolate Chicks
You can also color white chocolate or colored candy melts to make modeling chocolate.
Be sure to check out my modeling chocolate recipe and troubleshooting tips page.